Sure, there are more pre-draft smoke screens than you’ll ever want to imagine this time of year.
But New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin came across matter-of-factly when he said he believes Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o will be on the board when his team is selecting with the 19th overall pick.
And it doesn’t sound like Coughlin is real smitten with Te’o’s play on the field.
“Just strictly football, strictly evaluating — I don’t really know the player other than looking at him on tape,” Coughlin said in an appearance on “The Crossover” on NBC Sports Network, according to Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News. “We didn’t interview him in Indianapolis. But he didn’t play well in the national championship game.
“Now anybody can have a bad game. He ran OK (at the combine with a 40-yard dash time of 4.82 seconds), but it wasn’t great. So I’ll have to do more research on him. But at this point in time you’re asking me would I be surprised (if he’s available at 19)? No.”
Te’o has said he expects to improve on his 40 time when he participates in the Irish pro day on March 26 in South Bend, Ind. IMaybe Coughlin will find something he likes about Te’o on tape between now and then.
If Te’o doesn’t improve the 40 time at the pro day, the next question might be if he will be avavile when Round 2 begins.
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune